As Mao Zedong pointed out, politics is war without bloodshed. As such, propaganda is often heavily deployed as a weapon.
The dictionary defines propaganda as “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.”
In the Nigerian political environment, the APC is distinguished as the Master of Propaganda, very efficient in reckless irresponsibility, in deceiving and destroying the people with its poisonous cocktail of lies, half-truths, and pretensions. Sadly, liars are liars and are shameless in their perversion.
So, it is another political season and Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Ovie Omo-Agege came to town the other day seeking to deceive Deltans and harvest political capital with another lie, that the State has fully collected and spent =N=240 Billion accruing from undeducted 13% Derivation for 23 years from 1999.
Their calculation is to cause disaffection against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the ruling PDP, and its candidates in the State, but they woefully forgot that such financial matters are simply verifiable and not to be lied about.
The records and the facts are there: It was discovered for 60 months, from 1999, the Federal Government did not deduct the 13% Derivation accruing to the oil-producing States from the Excess Crude Account which it generally redistributed to all States; the whole amounted to about =N=450 Billion; when it was proven in court, the FG conceded to pay but, for fiscal convenience, it was agreed that it should pay in equal quarterly installments over five years.
In consideration of the galloping rate of inflation by which, in five years when the money is expected to be fully paid, its value would have depreciated seriously, many of the beneficiary States, including our noisy brother, considered to draw down the credit accruing to them by obtaining bank loans ahead to enable them fund projects so that the repayment would be made through the quarterly installments as and when the Federal Government continues to remit the payments as agreed in the next five years.
Governor Okowa did a bit differently. While what accrues to Delta State is =N=240 Billion, he initially opted to draw down =N=150 Billion as a loan. He later pruned it down to =N=100 billion in consideration for incoming administrations to also receive from the quarterly installments after his tenure.
Indeed, it must be said that apart from State officials who were in negotiation with the Federal Government for the recovery of the unpaid derivations, Governor Okowa was the first to make known the existence of such money. That was at the point of applying to the State House of Assembly for the approval of the loan, when he explained that it was a Bridging Loan to be repaid from the outstanding and not from statutory allocations. It is recalled that at that time, the APC and Omo-Agege, particularly, misinformed the public that such money does not exist. We know now that Okowa told us the truth.
However, the =N=100 billion loan has not been drawn at once and fully. It was scheduled to be accessed quarterly or periodically. So far, the State Government has only drawn =N=30 Billion of it and that was just about two weeks ago, in this November.
On the other hand, the Federal Government has only paid three quarterly installments of =N=4.9 billion per quarter, amounting to about =N=14.7 Billion, so far.
These are the true and verifiable facts, also attested to in a recent statement by Akwa Ibom State Professionals as it also affects their own State. They stated clearly as follows:
“Contrary to claims by Governor Wike, available records show the Federal Government has not paid any 23 years arrears but only 10 months installments in line with the Order of Court to liquidate the arrears in 60 equal monthly installments and disbursed to States quarterly, the first quarter being February to April 2022. What this means is that only 10 months out of the 60 monthly installments have been paid with the remaining 50 months yet to be paid.”
There is no need to abuse Wike for the mischief obviously intended to create disaffection against his brother South South Governors who have refused to join his disgraceful shams. Everyone knows that what is biting him is the loss of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential ticket and, like the proverbial leper, he has decided in his uncontrollable vengeful rage, to poison the air to weaken the PDP and give an advantage to its opponents.
Curiously characteristic, we saw the same conduct in his predecessor who also wanted to be Vice-President under the PDP in 2015 when it was thought that President Jonathan would no longer contest in keeping with his promise of a single tenure in addition to his completion of Yar’Adua’s posthumous two years.
We saw how Amaechi deployed same dramatics to constrain the PDP, how he riddled Jonathan and his wife with public insults, how he subjected the Government House, Port-Harcourt, to clownish theatrics to open his romance with the opposition, how he divided and subjected the Governors Forum to ridicule, how he divided the State House of Assembly, they even clubbed and battered a member to coma with the maze, before he finally jumped to the APC where had hoped to be gifted the Presidency for his efforts.
He is quiet now after even how so much he sold off his home Niger Delta, attempting to dismantle the University of Marine Technology at Tompolo’s Gbaramatu in preference for setting up the University of Transportation in Katsina and Sokoto, how he preferred to complete a rail line to Niger Republic while Maiduguri to Port Harcourt needed greater attention, how all the Niger Delta APC goons at the Federal cabinet and National Assembly looked away from the disrepair of the East-West Road and from the bastardisation of the NDDC which was supposed to serve their people, all for the mess of privileges they enjoy.
Wike’s new dance step therefore is nothing strange. He has not even achieved the brazenness of Amaechi while on the same journey. It is not also the first time we are seeing a coalition of PDP Governors hacking the party. They bluffed away but also ran back after what they saw. We may only remind him about what the tortoise said to other animals who wanted to visit the lion when it was ill: only footprints going in, none coming out. Ola Rotimi put it in his drama of the man who will kill his father and marry his mother: “When the tortoise is going on a senseless journey and you say to him, brother, brother, when will you be wise and come back home…”
That the APC is also amplifying the lie about payment of the outstanding 13% Derivation is only consonant with their life of lies. What pains worries though is to see persons of the calibre of Tinubu and Agege not knowing the truth of a national issue or irresponsibly twisting the facts, but, as with every deception, the truth of APC’s lies and emptiness not only glaringly stares us in the face but have continued to hurt and haunt Nigerians in the past seven years, plus. We can all do the count for which, Lai Mohammed, its Spokesperson and Minister of Information has been aptly renamed “Lie.”
First, they promised change but when they got into power, they abdicated the responsibility of their promise to run another propaganda that “Change begins with us,” and not with them that promised it.
At their Ojota charade in 2012, they said the price of fuel would be brought down from =N=87 to =N=40 but they moved it to =N=145, now about =N=250; they said there was nothing like fuel subsidy but ended up spending over =N=4b annually on it, as against about =N=1.4b under President Goodluck Jonathan, lying to us that we now consume 63 million litres of fuel every day.
They said they will lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty but have ended up throwing 133 million Nigerians into deeper poverty, as testified by the National Bureau of Statistics.
They said they will generate three million jobs annually but ended up creating 63 million more unemployment. They said any serious government should be able to fix power in six months, it is seven years now and the generation and transmission has dropped lower than they met it. They said they will combat security but ended up re-distributing Boko Haram as bandits, kidnapping, raping, maiming, and traumatising citizens across the nation.
There is no point talking about the depreciation of the Naira nor the price of food and all essentials. What is more frightening is that they have so over-borrowed Nigeria that debt servicing consumes over 98% of national revenue but even most scary is that many of the loans, especially those from China, are collateralised with national sovereignty.
That is the party and kind of governance that Tinubu and Agege want to bring upon Deltans with lies and propaganda.